Whereas 10 years ago Pat Green might have been sleeping off a late night at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday, these days you’re more likely to find him making pancakes for his two kids, Rainey, 8, and Kellis, 10, and perhaps introducing them to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Such was the case on a recent weekday morning.
“I used to really love to party all the time,” said Green, whose Texas style of country music provided the late-night soundtrack for many a college kid. “Now I have a drink and I’m like, well, I don’t want to irritate my wife or forget what I said to my kids. Life does change. The young person, myself included, doesn’t really care what people older then them thought. It’s like ‘I’m here to party.’ And so now the same is true for my generation looking backwards at the guys coming up. I want the best for them and their lives. I want them to have a great time, as long as it’s not too loud after 10 p.m.”
That’s not to say Green has gone soft.
“I enjoy it. I still love life, still love making music,” he said.
A three-time Grammy nominee, Green has sold out venues from Nokia Theater in Time Square to the Houston Astrodome in Texas. He’s sold more than 2 million albums over the course of his career. Green plays in Keystone on Saturday, Aug. 23, as part of the inaugural Mountain Town Music Festival.
‘THE OLDER YOU GET, THE COOLER YOUR FRIENDS ARE’
Whereas Green used to tour constantly, now he performs 80 or 90 shows a year and is mostly a “weekend warrior,” so he can spend more time with his wife and children.
His music, along with his propensity for partying and his schedule, has changed a bit, too.
“A much calmer version of the same guy is what you’re hearing,” he said.
He’s been in the studio recently, specifically at Blade Studios in Lafayette, Louisiana.
“They’re trying to develop the arts there and make great deals to incentivize you to come there,” he said.
For awhile, when Green was signed to “big record labels,” the most recent being BNA, he was in the studio constantly.
“They made me put out a record every year. It was a never-ending grind,” he said. “Once I left BNA — we left on great terms, it was just over — I just took four years out of the studio to calm down and slow down. It’s been enjoyable to not be moving so fast all the time, to enjoy my family.”
And now, instead of feeling like “Oh God, here we go again,” Green is happy to be working on a new album, though he’s not sure at the moment which label will pick it up for release.
“Somebody will pick it up, we just don’t know who yet,” he said.
Some big artists helped Green out with the album, namely Sheryl Crow, Delbert McClinton and Lyle Lovett.
“The older you get in the music business, the cooler your friends are,” he said.
“The songs are still fun,” he said about the new album. “The song I did with Delbert, ‘May the Good Times Never End,’ is real bluesy. There’s a song on there I wrote for my wife, ‘Right Now,’ that I did with Sheryl Crow that’s a true love song about the days when Kori and I were broken up in college. There’s a song about my family called ‘I’ll Take This House,’ about my little blond angels who live here. It’s a fairly good picture of where I’m at.”
Green penned about half the songs on the album, he said.
“I don’t have to do all the writing to be the king,” he said. “I really just want to make a good record. That’s the ultimate bottom line, you could say.”
‘A LONG CONVERSATION’
There’s a spiritual vein running through some of Green’s songs, such as “Wave on Wave,” for instance, a song from his gold-certified album of the same name that went to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The song starts with: “Mile upon mile got no direction/ We’re all playing the same game/ We’re all looking for redemption/ We’re just afraid to say the name/ So caught up now in pretending/ What we’re seeking is the truth.”
“Me and God are just a long conversation,” Green said. “As a young person, it was ‘Dear Lord, forgive me this, give me that. Now the only thing I pray for is to take care of my kids and my family, please protect everyone. I just want everyone to live longer than I do.”
Green has had a number of appearances in the mountain towns of Colorado this summer, including Aspen, Crested Butte and Beaver Creek. Colorado is one state he’s always happy to visit, he said.
“I love Colorado in general,” he said. “I love the fishing and hiking and golfing and everything that happens there. It’s such a diverse place. Most everyone you meet is real warm and accepting. It’s no real secret why everyone wants to come there, it’s beautiful.”
But at the end of the shows, he’ll be ready to get back to Texas.
“As long as I make the pancakes and bring home the bacon, everything is happy,” he said.
“I don’t have to do all the writing to be the king. I really just want to make a good record. That’s the ultimate bottom line, you could say.”